Venture Catalyst will be closed December 21, 2020 through January 1, 2021. During these two weeks, we will be unable to respond to messages or provide access to resources and services available through our programs. Our office will reopen on Monday, January 4, 2021.
Venture Catalyst Welcomes New Associate Directors
UC Davis Venture Catalyst is pleased to announce two new Associate Directors that will lead efforts to support university-associated innovators and startups commercializing exciting new technologies, working alongside Venture Catalyst Senior Associate Director, Ryan Sharp, and Interim Associate Vice Chancellor for Innovation & Technology Commercialization, Bill Tucker.
John Aikens will focus on innovations in physical science, engineering, agriculture, and computer science. He joins the team with over 25 years’ experience in the biotechnology, fine chemicals, and materials science industries. John is serial entrepreneur having worked in multiple startups with key roles within organizations including founder, research scientist, business development, and C-level management. He has also been an active advisor and mentor with experience engaging with entrepreneurs from several universities including Princeton, Northwestern, the University of Chicago, and the University of Illinois. John most recently worked as a contractor to Argonne National Laboratory’s Chain Reaction Innovations, which is a Department of Energy Lab-Embedded Entrepreneurship Program. John is an inventor of over 20 patents and is an advocate for sustainability and alternative energy. He received a Ph.D. in Chemistry from UC Irvine and completed postdoctoral studies in Biophysics and Biochemistry at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.
Mike Lemcke will focus on life science innovations. He moves into the Associate Director role after serving as Venture Catalyst’s Proof-of-Concept & Innovation Programs Manager for the past three and a half years. In this role, Mike was responsible for managing the Science Translation and Innovative Research (STAIR) and Data, Informatics and Application Launch (DIAL) proof-of-concept grant programs, engagement with undergraduate student innovators and entrepreneurs, implementation of funding through the UC Innovation & Entrepreneurship Expansion Bill, and the Biotech Innovation Gallery (BIG) Accelerator program. Through these programs, Mike has supported numerous life science innovators and startups with technology de-risking activities, industry and investor engagement, and entrepreneurial skills development. Prior to joining Venture Catalyst, Mike worked in new product and technology development and deployment in the gaming industry.
UC Davis Venture Catalyst Knowledge Exchange Webinar
Building and Maintaining Connections with Potential Corporate Partners and Investors
  • Lloyd Kunimoto, President & Chief Executive Officer, Amfora 
  • Mike Henry, Chief Business Officer, Aldatu Biosciences 

Engaging with potential corporate partners and early-stage investors requires substantial preparation and an informed strategy, particularly as opportunities for connections have shifted to a digital format during the pandemic. This virtual fireside chat, featuring two experienced life science entrepreneurs, will provide practical advice for startup founders and leaders seeking strategic partnerships and funding. The discussion will also explore topics such as effective engagement approaches, new digital opportunities and challenges, and thoughts on the post-pandemic financing environment.

Tuesday, December 1, 2020, 10:30 – 11:45 am
Seed Central Innovators Showcase
Seed Central, in partnership with Venture Catalyst, the UC Davis Innovation Institute for Food & Health, and the Microbiome Special Research Program will host a virtual Innovators Showcase with pitch sessions, panel discussions, and online company visits scheduled for January 21-29, 2021. The showcase will feature startups and innovative companies in seed, ag, agbiotech, microbiome, and food & health and will also include a panel discussion on incubator and startup space in the Davis-Sacramento region, with particular focus on seed-to-fork.
New Technology Speeds Up Crop Improvement
Gene editing can improve crop performance, but oftentimes the plants are hard to grow from cells after their genomes have been edited. Plant geneticist Jorge Dubcovksy, a distinguished professor of plant sciences at UC Davis developed a new tool to improve the the plant gene editing process by coaxing transformed cells to regenerate new plants. The findings were published in the journal Nature Biotechnology.... Read More
Sacramento City Council Adopts Intent to Establish Aggie Square
UC Davis announced that the Aggie Square project is one step closer to realization. The Sacramento City Council adopted a resolution of intention to establish the Aggie Square Enhanced Infrastructure Financing District, or EIFD. This financing mechanism will utilize the City's portion of increased property taxes generated by the project to help fund the development and related improvements.... Read More
UC Davis School of Medicine and UTHealth Get Nearly $54 Million to Study the Role of White Matter Lesions in Dementia
A team of brain scientists from the UC Davis School of Medicine and University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth) were awarded a six-year grant expected to total $53.6 million from the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The researchers will use the funding to study the role of incidental white matter lesions, or WMLs, in dementia among diverse people with cognitive complaints. The grant is the largest ever from the NIH to the UC Davis School of Medicine. It also is a new and critical part of the NIH’s Vascular Contributions to Cognitive Impairment and Dementia (VCID) research program.... Read More
Plant Pathologist Pamela Ronald Named GCHERA World Agriculture Prize Laureate
Pamela Ronald, distinguished professor in the Department of Plant Pathology at UC Davis and with the UC Davis Genome Center, was named a 2020 World Agriculture Prize laureate by the Global Confederation of Higher Education Associations for Agricultural and Life Sciences, or GCHERA. She becomes the first woman whose work is recognized by the award. The award recognizes her history of major discoveries in plant molecular genetics.... Read More
Berkeley Lab’s Computational Research Division Summer Students Support Pandemic Response
As a part of the Computational Research Division’s (CRD) summer student program at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, four graduate students from UC Davis researched a method that could allow doctors and researchers to leverage valuable health information in the battle against COVID-19 while also preserving patient privacy in COVID-19-related electronic health records (EHR).... Read More
Stay Informed of Latest COVID-19 Research and Information from UC Davis: COVID-19 Research Working Group
Startup News
ARIZ Precision Medicine Discloses Major New Investor as Company Emerges from Stealth Mode
ARIZ Precision Medicine announced that it has secured $685,000 in seed financing bringing total funding to date of $2.5 million. Moneta Ventures led the latest investment round.... Read More
Sage Therapeutics Announces Positive Interim, Topline Zuranolone Safety and Tolerability Data from Open-Label SHORELINE Study in Patients with MDD
Sage Therapeutics reported interim, topline results from a July data cut of the ongoing Phase 3 open-label SHORELINE Study. This clinical study was designed to naturalistically follow patients with major depressive disorder (MDD) and evaluate the safety and tolerability of zuranolone 30 mg in adults for up to one year.... Read More
Arcadia Biosciences Announces a Series of Strategic Transactions with Bioceres Crop Solutions
Arcadia Biosciences announced a series of strategic transactions with Bioceres Crop Solutions Corp, including the sale of its membership interest in Verdeca, a soybean joint venture the two companies formed in 2012. In another transaction, Bioceres acquired license rights to Arcadia’s GoodWheat™ technologies in South and Central America.... Read More
Three Farm Daughters™ Launches New Product Portfolio Powered by GoodWheat™
Arcadia Biosciences announced the launch and availability of their first product lines using Arcadia’s patented non-GMO GoodWheat™ branded ingredients. The new Three Farm Daughters™ branded products include Artisan Linguine Pasta, Fusilli Pasta, Fettuccine Pasta and 100% Wheat Flour.... Read More
Shasqi Presents Trial-In-Progress and Preclinical Posters at SITC 2020
Shasqi presented two posters on their lead candidate, SQ3370, at The Society for Immunotherapy of Cancer’s (SITC) 35th Anniversary Annual Meeting. In their trial-in-progress poster, Shasqi presents a first-in-human phase I study for their lead candidate SQ3370, a click activated protodrug therapy, in patients with advanced solid tumors. In another poster, Shasqi presents preclinical data on SQ3370. The findings show that SQ3370 induces a dose-dependent, sustained local and systemic anti-tumor response in two dual-tumor syngeneic mouse models.... Read More
Genetic analysis of B. infantis Strains Reveal Functional Superiority of Activated EVC001 in Infants
A new peer-reviewed study conducted by Evolve Biosystems reports that specific genes of a particular infant gut bacterium determine its symbiotic function in the infant gut. The study provides important guidance for clinicians when selecting a probiotic for use in infants to maximize impact on both short- and long-term health outcomes.... Read More
Startup Career Opportunities
Career Opportunities at AnimalBiome
AnimalBiome is currently hiring for an animal care specialist and a laboratory technician.... Learn more
Career Opportunities at Arcadia Biosciences
Arcadia Biosciences is hiring for a Technical Seed Sales & Agronomy Advisor.... Learn more
Career Opportunities at Chirp Microsystems
Chirp Microsystems (part of TDK) is hiring for multiple engineering positions, along with several sales and logistics operator openings... Learn More
Career Opportunities at Evolve Biosystems
Evolve Biosystems is currently hiring for two research associates and a management position.... Learn More
Career Opportunities at Novoheart
Novoheart is currently hiring for an engineer and three scientist positions.... Learn more
Career Opportunities at Sage Therapeutics
Sage Therapeutics is hiring for a wide range of positions from Vice President of Pharmacovigilance & Drug Safety to director level positions.... Learn more
News from the DRIVE Network
Inventopia Tenant InSight Labs Selected to Pitch at FoodBytes!
InSight Labs, a tenant of the Davis-based incubator Inventopia, was one of the 45 selected companies to pitch at the FoodBytes! Pitch 2020, Rabobank's food and ag startup discovery program.... Read More
Regional News
Vacaville Launches California Biomanufacturing Center (Solano EDC)
The City of Vacaville is planning to expand its biomanufacturing capacity by dedicating an additional 300 acres to biomanufacturing sites. This newly-added zone has been named California Biomanufacturing Center, Inc., a nonprofit that aims to speed up the growth of the sector by working with industry and academic partners.... Read More
Moneta Portfolio Company Sibros Partners with Amazon Web Services (Sacramento Business Journal)
The Moneta Ventures portfolio company Sibros Technologies became an Amazon Web Services (AWS) partner. The new partnership will allow Sibros to more easily deploy its cloud-based software updates for cars. The company raised $12 million earlier in 2020 in a round led by Nexus Venture Partners LLC with participation from Moneta Ventures and Twin Ventures..... Read More
Vallejo’s Factory_OS Gets $17M From Google, Autodesk to Build Thousands of Affordable Apartments (North Bay Business Journal)
Factory_OS, a startup that manufactures modular multifamily housing, received $17 million from Silicon Valley-based Google and Autodesk. The company used the funding to hire add more staff and plans to build thousands of affordable modular apartment units.... Read More
Two Local Clean Technology Companies Win $150,000 CalSEED Grants (Sacramento Business Journal)
Sacramento area-based startups Waterhound Futures and EV Life each were awarded a $150,000 prize from the California Energy Commission's California Sustainable Energy Entrepreneur Development, or CalSEED, program. Waterhound is a water treatment company and will use funds for develop a predictive analytics software, which will help municipal systems use less water. EV Life will use the funds to further develop its platform of enabling customers to obain the best possible financing for electric vehicle purchase.... Read More
Sircles Reaches Equity Crowdfunding Goal of $1.07M in Under a Week (Sacramento Business Journal)
Sircles, a social media startup based in Sacramento reached its crowdfunding goal of $1.07 million in less than five days. The company will use the funds to further its platform, which allows users to provide business recommendations instead of reviews.... Read More
Funding Opportunities
Big Ideas Contest
Pre-Proposal Application Deadline: November 20, 2020.... Learn More
UC Launch Accelerator Spring 2021 Cohort
Application Deadline: December 6, 2020.... Learn More
Big Bang! Business Competition
Early Team Registration Deadline: December 12, 2020.... Learn More
UC Hastings Startup Legal Garage
Applications Open through December 20, 2020.... Learn More
Equalize 2021
Application Deadline: December 31, 2020.... Learn More
PLASMA Student Accelerator
Application Deadline: January 4, 2021.... Learn More
Rice Business Plan Competition
Application Deadline: January 17, 2020.... Learn More
Deep Life 2020 Drug Discovery and Delivery Challenge
Currently accepting applications.... Learn More
IndieBio Accelerator
Currently accepting applications.... Learn More
Open SBIR/STTR Grant Topics.... Learn More
Educational Opportunities
Think.Do.Discover. Speaker Series: An Unexpected Path to Purpose
Dates: November 30, 2020.... Learn More
Techfair at Berkeley
Application Deadline: December 5, 2020.... Learn More
Sacramento Entrepreneurship Academy
Application Deadline: December 20, 2020.... Learn More
Institute for Innovation & Entrepreneurship Big Bang! Business Competition Events and Workshops
Dates: Ongoing.... Learn More
SBIR Road Tour Virtual Events
Dates: Ongoing.... Learn More
Regional Events
Greater Sacramento Economic Council Annual Celebration
Date: December 3, 2020.... Learn More
AgStart Office Hours
Date: Ongoing.... Learn More
Sacramento State Carlsen Center for Innovation & Entrepreneurship
Events and Workshops
Date: Ongoing.... Learn More
Small Business Development Center Workshops
Date: Ongoing.... Learn More
Silicon Valley USPTO Workshops
Date: Ongoing.... Learn More
Bay Area NSF Innovation Corps Immersive Short Courses
Date: Ongoing.... Learn More
1 Million Cups
Date: Weekly (Wednesdays).... Learn More
Industry Events
Forbes Power Women’s Summit West (Virtual)
Date: November 18-19, 2020.... Learn More
Biocom Diversity and Inclusion in the Life Science Industry (Virtual)
Date: November 19, 2020.... Learn More
Biotechgate Digital Partnering (Virtual)
Date: November 23-26, 2020.... Learn More
Forbes Healthcare Virtual Summit
Date: December 2-3, 2020.... Learn More
BIO Infectious Disease Virtual Partnering (Virtual)
Date: December 2-3, 2020.... Learn More
TechCrunch Sessions: Space (Virtual)
Date: December 16-17, 2020.... Learn More
Center of Excellence in Regulatory Science and Innovation’s Innovations in Regulatory Science Summit (Virtual)
Date: January 10, 2021.... Learn More
BIO Partnering at JPM (Virtual)
Date: January 11-14, 2021.... Learn More
Seed Central Innovation Showcase
Date: January 21, 2021.... Learn More
Startup Grind Global Conference (Virtual)
Date: February 22-25, 2021.... Learn More
Biocom Global Life Science Partnering Conference (Virtual)
Date: February 23-25, 2021.... Learn More
World Agri-Tech Innovation Summit (Virtual)
Date: March 9-10, 2021.... Learn More
SXSW Conference (Virtual)
Date: March 16-20, 2021.... Learn More
JLABS Virtual Educational Events
Date: Ongoing.... Learn More
Innovation Insights
PitchBook-NVCA Venture Monitor (PitchBook)
Compared to the previous quarter, venture deal activity increased in Q3 2020, according to PitchBook-NVCA Venture Monitor report. Investments over Q3 2020 totaled nearly $38 billion, buoyed by mega-deals, bring the 2020 total to over $112 billion.... Read More
Pandemic’s Impact Disproportionately Reduced VC Funding for Female Founders (TechCrunch)
The pandemic's effect on the venture capital funding for different industries varied greatly. While the funding dried up for some sectors, others, especially software, flourished. However, data collected by Techrunch shows that early-stage female founders have been disproportionately hurt by the pandemic’s impact.... Read More
Data Shows California's 'Women on Boards' Law Has Decimated All-Male Boards (Silicon Valley Business Journal)
Since the passing of the California Senate Bill 826 in 2018, which requires a minimum number of women on public company boards, the number companies with no women on their boards went down from 180 to just 15. California public companies added 176 women to their boards in 2018 and 346 in 2019. Women claimed another 147 board seats in first half of 2020.... Read More
Latent Technology as an Outcome of R&D (Technological Forecasting and Social Change)
Researchers from Northumbria University in the UK and University of North Carolina at Greensboro published a paper on the effects of latent technology licensing versus commercialization. The findings indicate that there is a higher probability of a company selling a technology to another firm if the technology has not been commercialized. The paper also indicated that larger firms are more likely to commercialize technologies in-house rather than licensing them out.... Read More
2020 Life Sciences Sector Report from CLSA Shows Strong Growth in Jobs, Investments and Therapeutic Pipeline in California
The latest report from the California Life Science Association (CLSA) shows that the state's life science sector directly employs nearly 324,000 people (up 4% from 2019) and generated nearly $192 billion in revenue in 2020. California's life science sector is also projected to receive $6.5 billion in venture capital funding as well as $4.5 billion of funding from the NIH.... Read More
About Venture Catalyst 
UC Davis Venture Catalyst supports the development of new ventures fueled by university research and technology. Venture Catalyst offers several innovative programs that bridge the gap between early-stage research and commercialization and provide entrepreneurs the resources, support, and connections needed to successfully form and grow technology-based startups. With a focus on accelerating technology-led economic development in the Davis-Sacramento region, Venture Catalyst also works closely with partners in the regional innovation and economic development ecosystems. 
Contact Venture Catalyst 
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